Could Polian Improve Our History Of Errors?

If the internet is to be believed (which it rarely is), the Buffalo Bills have been in contact with former General Manager Bill Polian and have begun talks to secure the latter a position in the front office for the coming off-season. Polian himself denies these rumors, but the report has come from more than one source, and his two-year absence from the league may have him itching to get back in the saddle, as it were.

Savior or sacrilige? Photo from espn.com

Savior or sacrilige? Photo from espn.com

There is no doubt in my mind that the Bills have at least made contact. This move has Buffalo sports written all over it. Remember the Marv Levy debacle? How about Pat LaFontaine? Buffalo loves to recycle their past, particularly if the person coming back around has had success in their previous time of service. Levy was the engine that drove those AFC Champion Bills teams of the 90s, and LaFontaine is forever etched in the Buffalo Sports pantheon, not only as a great player, but as the subject of one of the greatest calls in Buffalo sports history. The problem is that both of these attempts to rekindle sports flames ended up burning out quickly. Levy ended up a senile old man, even forgetting the names of players. LaFontaine’s hire seemed to be arbitrary, and he took his position very seriously. An alleged conflict between LaFontaine and management appeared to have resulted in Pat’s untimely exit.

Remember this debacle? Photo from nbcprohockeytalk.com

Remember this debacle? Photo from nbcprohockeytalk.com

Concern for the current rumor is warranted, given this history of failure. Polian’s release from his position with the Indianapolis Colts in January, 2012 was questionable. It had been a terrible season for Indy, to be sure, but the awful season came at a very fortunate time. The Colts suffered through a Peyton Maning-less 2-14 season, but in the end, they

were rewarded with heir apparent Andrew Luck. It was odd timing for the team, with Luck locked up and Manning preparing to return. It is possible that The Colts were ready to move on and let Manning go (which they eventually did) and that Polian was not willing to pull the trigger on his longtime friend. This should be worrying to a prospective employer. A man of Polian’s ilk should be a shark and always maintain the ability to make the best decision for the team. Hindsight being what it is, Manning had a lot of football left in him, but you can’t blame the Colts for being uncertain about Peyton’s future, and at the same time, being excited about their own future with Luck.

This is also a very Pegula move. When Pegula bought the Bills, I wrote that he prefers to have a man on the front lines, much like Ted Black is with the Sabres. The same may be even more true in this instance, as Pegula is a self-proclaimed ‘hockey-guy’ and may be looking for some added weapons in his football war room. There may not be a more qualified prospect out there; while Polian has been away from the NFL for two years, he has not been out of football completely. It is indeed worrisome that he is at quite an advanced age – I can’t escape the thoughts of Levy and the abject ineptitude of that regime, but all evidence would indicate that Polian is still sharp. It would be quite a story if he were to return and usher in a new era of success — equal to the 90s teams (or better?!)

Terry and Ted, best friends forever. Photo from sabres.com

Terry and Ted, best friends forever. Photo from sabres.com

On the surface, the idea appears gimmicky. I don’t like it. It seems to be too Buffalo. We should really know by now that in order to avoid repeating the past, we need to learn from our mistakes. Buffalo has demonstrated recently that we’re older and wiser. As a city, we’re making all of the right decisions, and it shows; our development is so fast and so thorough that national media outlets have taken notice. Our sports teams need to follow suit. After all, we’re growing as a city because we’re renewing, and the Bills and Sabres (read: Pegulas) need to take notice. Consider the following my official statement:

Seriously.  We love you guys. Photo from democrat and chronicle.com

Seriously. We love you guys. Photo from democrat and chronicle.com

Dear Terry and Kim;
We love you. We promise. We know everything you’ve done for us and we are incredibly appreciative. You may have also noticed that we are madly in love with our sports teams. Good or bad, we generally fill your stadiums with win-thirsty FANATICS that would never conceive of being elsewhere. We embraced the tank, even if we didn’t need to. We all wore moustaches for Orton, even though he’s never been anything better than mediocre. You have my personal assurance that we will continue to do so. If you REALLY feel that hiring Polian is the right move for the team, then, by all means, please do so. But – and this is a big but – if you’re doing this to placate Buffalo, please do not. We don’t need gimmicks. We need good, solid decisions from someone we are trusting with our city’s (and our teams’) well-being.

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  1. Owners Should Own, Not Manage! | What's Going On In Buffalo? Find Out! - March 13, 2015

    […] them 100%. We suffer terribly from nostalgia, and it has gotten us in trouble before (see Marv Levy, Pat LaFontaine) It is distinctly possible it is getting us into trouble again. I wanted Fred Jackson to stay as […]

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